Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

Friday, July 5, 2019

Why Society Hates Boobs, Even Milky Ones

Have you ever noticed that if a beautiful woman displays her gorgeous breasts, she is reviled? In some states, she's even charged with a felony if she does so for sexual purposes. This is probably most widely shown today in our society that often resents women who breast feed in public, although the female breasts and sexual organs are also generally hated just for existing in the first place if they are not kept under tight lock and key. But rest assured, it is legal everywhere in the world for a man to walk around topless. A man running down the beach wouldn't be given a second thought, even if his body was unattractive, but a beautiful woman would be arrested before she took her first step. Why is all of this the case? Why does the female body insight such hatred and resentment, even in the minds of many women themselves who are in government and vote for these oppressive laws?

Well, when you've spent as many years in ancient, non-Abrahamic religion as I have, and have studied history like I do, it's not hard to realize the truth. It doesn't take a genius, because I am certainly not one, yet it also requires more than just a surface explanation. It takes much study and deep thought into the philosophies and mentalities of our present society.

It all has to do with the Abrahamic take over of the world, namely Christianity and Islam. Before that happened, human sexuality was loved and celebrated among the Polytheists, because Polytheism embraces the Natural World and the life therein. The Polytheistic religions literally gave freedom of mind and body, and there was nothing threatening about the sexual powers of either men or women. In the ancient Greek world, the beautiful bodies of both sexes were wonderfully conceived, revered as perfections, and turned into sculptures to be admired. Why should anyone have been offended by any of it? The feeling of threat did not come until the religions of mind and body control started to gain prominence, which we know primarily today as Christianity and Islam, both of which have a deep distrust of women. These religions also rely heavily on human male dominated power alone, giving absolutely none to the female who is viewed as the tempter and destruction of man. It becomes terrifying to think of female power because, one, if you allow the woman to have power, what claim do you have to sole authority, and two, what will she do with that power? For the sake of the entire religion, she must be oppressed and repressed.

One of the central missions of the two new religions that arrived on the world stage, was to control human sexuality, because that makes it easier to control people themselves. When you have your foot on the throat of humanity's basic makeup, you have them completely enslaved. That's why the central things that make you human, are condemned by these religions. Everything becomes a sin, even the mere fact that you were born human. So by making your humanity a sin, you are controlled, and additionally important, you are always dependent on the religion and the religious authority who claims they can save you from it.

At this point, one might ask, what does all this have to do with female breasts and breast feeding being resented? Because the precise reason they are resented is because they are the representation, embodiment and action of female power that the ruling religions have conditioned everyone, even women themselves, to hate and cover up. Her breasts are her power in sexuality, and breast feeding shows how she also has the power to give life itself. Woman cannot be allowed to freely know and express her inherent powers, because if she does, she might just come out from under the oppression that Christianity and Islam need in order to maintain their rule over her. It would also encourage men to come out from under the sexual oppression they have faced. This is the last thing that the present ruling powers want. Once they lose control of the basic humanity that they have kept in check for centuries, they lose control of the world.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Catholic Schoolboy Sees Artemis

The year was 1984 or 1985 when John of Freeport, Illinois saw something that would alter the course of his life. He was not Catholic, or really any particular religion, but attended the local St. Thomas institution because he had no other choice, and found himself on a school retreat to the local Oakland Nature Preserve with his class on this occasion.

John is an adult now with his own house and family in Freeport. He's also a good friend of mine and invited me to his family cookout today where he told me what happened to him as a child during this time. With his permission and approval, this story has been told here, and I thank him greatly for being kind enough to give me such a treasure to share on my blog. However, he also requested that I don't reveal his last name or picture at this time due to his family issues. Things are too stressful right now for them to have to deal with any direct or abundant publicity.  

The night it happened, the hour was around 10 when John realized that, unlike his classmates, he couldn't fall asleep, so he decided to go for a walk in the woods even though it was against the rules at that particular time. Everyone was supposed to be in bed and locked down for the night. John didn't care, and he knew well enough how to work the door lock so he could get in and out, a talent that seems to be natural because, still today, John is a magnificent inventor and engineer. The moon was full and bright enough to where he could see his way around in the dark and he eventually came to rest near a creek, listening to the owls and watching the bats catch insects.

At some point, everything went dead silent, not a sound of anything. As John described, it was something that happens when a predator approaches, and he knew enough about survival to know that you don't run or make sudden movements at that point, so he remained still and observed. The first sound he heard that broke the silence was that of what was clearly a deer approaching from the nearby trail. When it came into view, John saw that it was a large buck, and stranger, it appeared to be ghostly. As John described, he could see the trees behind it. The beast looked at him for a moment. Then a falling branch echoed. The buck looked behind, looked forward again, and dashed off, leaping a great distance over the creek and heading through the woods.

Then on the same trail, came the sound of someone running. "Who the hell is out here at this time of night running through the woods?" John wondered. As the two stampeding feet came into view, he saw that they were attached to a beautiful woman in a white tunic-like gown, with long black hair, a quiver of arrows on her back, and a silver bow in her hand. She caught sight of John, stopped, and said to him, "You're not supposed to be out here." In his childhood attitude, he replied, "Yeah, but neither are you." She smiled, "I figured you'd say that." Then, she asked John where the deer went. He pointed her in the right direction and she was off, never to be seen again.

When the next day came, there was a time when John thought he had simply dreamed up the encounter while asleep in his bed, but then, he explained, he went back to the creek and the trail to see the footprints of the stag exactly where they had been, both on the trail and on the banks of the water. "I knew I didn't dream it," he said. John would eventually come to realize that he had encountered Artemis with his own eyes and talked to Her with his own voice, and She to him. "That was the first and only time I've ever physically encountered a God," he finished. 

What makes John's story even more interesting for me is the fact that I have also seen Artemis in my dreams, and we both describe the same appearance and features, without ever having disclosed them to one another beforehand. We also had the same feelings in Her presence. The fact that there is an immense peace and calmness, and equally that, while admiring her beauty, we never became sexually interested or thought sexual things. Artemis is a Virgin Goddess who doesn't like sex and doesn't want to be sexualized, and both John and I had a revelation together today when we described our encounters, because we realized that it's actually not possible to sexualize Artemis in Her presence. It never occurs to you. Sex simply doesn't exist there. It's not possible to go against a God. A mortal is completely subject to their will. During the entire time that he and I saw and interacted with Her, we admired Her beauty, but nothing sexual ever ran through our heads at all. We knew we were in the presence of a Divine Virgin at that point.

I have known John for many years, and equally know that he has absolutely no reason to lie to me about such a story. He had never even told it publicly until I posted a Facebook thread asking my Pagan friends about childhood encounters with Pagan Gods. He decided he would wait to tell me in person, but he also didn't even ask me to publish the story. I asked him if I could do so. John had no reason to tell me a falsehood, and nothing to gain from it.

I certainly thank him once again for allowing me to talk about such magnificent experiences with Olympos, and hope that Artemis visits him again.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

If You Want A Temple, There's Always A Way

Pagans and Polytheists today can find themselves in a dilemma. However, it's not just our community. Millions of Americans live in apartments or other rental properties with limited space, and no yard of their own if any. In my life, I was fortunate enough to have rented a house at one time with just enough outdoor space for a physical sanctuary and an extra room in the home big enough for an official temple space. Local worshipers actually came to it and, once my religious organization was officially incorporated into the State, I became the founder of Thomasville's first Greek Polytheistic temple, but even then, I couldn't really build anything of significance that was independent of the established property itself because I didn't actually own the land. So if I had wanted to build a small Greek temple in the backyard for more official worship, I wouldn't have been allowed to do it unless I wanted to tear it down when I moved, which I would not have been comfortable doing. 

Fortunately, though, there's more than one way to get what you want out of life. There's always a way to work with what you have at present. If you live in an apartment with an extra room, the obvious course would be to convert it into a temple space. I did this myself once before when I lived in my townhouse in Greensboro, North Carolina. I actually quite enjoyed it as a temple. But one option you may not have thought of might just reside in the downstairs of your apartment building itself. Some places come with a storage unit, some of which I have seen are very nice. I've had them in the past with my own rentals, and they can be spacious, private and secure enough for a temporary temple. I'm not talking about the units you rent from a self-storage company, I am referring to the compartments that come with an apartment and are found in the lower level. I know you have stuff down there, but let's be honest, do you really need that junk? Probably not, so sell it, give it away, or trash it, and convert the space into your temple. You'll enjoy it more than you think. It may indeed be in the basement and partially underground, but in ancient times, caves and inner dwellings were thought to be sacred to the Gods and were used for religious purposes. 

You can also create a temple out of something as simple as a walk-in closet, or a closet with enough space. When I lived in my first apartment in High Point, North Carolina, we had a walk-in closet that would have been perfect. The shelves on either side could have held statues, treasures and relics of the Gods and Heroes, and the far end could have been the home of a magnificent altar. Closed off from the rest of the home by a simple locked door, it would have been a unique space all its own. With that in mind, you might ask, "Where am I going to put my clothes?" You can actually buy a portable closet organizer from somewhere like Walmart for $25. Or you can purchase dressers or an actual wardrobe cabinet. Then you'll have your temple space available.

If you live in an apartment with a balcony, no matter how small, leave the screen door open (the inside door can be shut to close off the area) and build a proper cover over your part of the platform, or you can simply set up an altar on the balcony and use it as an open air temple. The only downside with this is that you may not want to leave things of high value unattended due to the threat of thieves. Even if your balcony is high off the ground, there's still the potential threat of severe weather that could destroy things. Nevertheless, the basic structure is what matters.

Remember, a temple doesn't have to be the grand size of things like the Parthenon. We only think so because we're so used to equating them with the term. But the actual definition of a temple is simply "a place dedicated to the service or worship of Gods." I've seen people make temple spaces out of simple pantries or similar structures. A shrine could also technically fit into this definition, but a temple is significantly larger and more elaborate. A shrine can be as simple as a dresser top with the proper materials and tools, but that's not a temple. A temple allows for more expression, and is a home of the God or Gods that it represents. It is more of a housed area of holiness and even refuge. 

May the Gods give you the creativity to find your bliss in life.
Chris.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Aphrodite's Stronghold Against Christianity

As the 4th Century CE rolled on, the rising Christian State, led by the power of Rome, was stopping at nothing to persecute the Polytheists out of existence. The old religion(s) under the Christian Emperor Theodosius I, had been outlawed, and in 393 CE, he finally banned even the Olympic Games of Greece. Of course, the persecution didn't begin with Theodosius and it wouldn't end with him either. But it would have appeared that the "massive state pressure" concerning the Christian State that Walter Burkert talks about in his book Greek Religion, was finally taking hold in its mission to force everyone into the new religion.

However, according to recent archaeological finds, it appears as if the worship of the Greek Gods, namely Aphrodite, set up a stronghold in Thessaloniki through the 4th Century, a region in the far north of the Greek mainland. By 306 CE, Christianity had already found its way into Thessaloniki, but there were apparently Greeks who refused it until the end. During the excavation of the metro, workers came across thousands of artifacts from the time period, most notably statues of Aphrodite, giving testament to the enduring worship of Her during this highly hostile, anti-Pagan time. Devotion to Her was as strong as the love and sexual desire itself over which She rules and gives to humanity. She was, without a doubt, one of the most hated Goddesses among the Christians, because She represented sexuality and freedom of the body. Christianity knew it could not gain control over the masses without shackling the basic human makeup. Aphrodite was a dire threat to the very core of their objective. 

These finds are not only significant because of their history, but because it seems to show that, despite what the modern Church says, not everyone willingly accepted Christianity. Some people, probably most of the population, resisted it. There would have been absolutely no other reason for Christians to make laws forcing people to give it up. So today, we should also draw an inspired spirit as we look at the remains of undying devotion to the Gods, and carry it on into tomorrow and the days and years to come as we move to restore the traditional identities of humanity. No matter how hard, hopeless or hostile things get, let us never give up our beliefs, our love, our devotion.

To read more details about this recent story, check out the website of my friend and fellow Hellenist, Baring The Aegis.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Gods As Universal Consciousness

As a writer and a theologian, I never quite know when something as simple as a general conversation or experience will give me something to write and philosophize about, but today was such a time, and it involved one of my favorite Gods. 

My wife and I were discussing statues and we got onto the topic of Poseidon's trident. Talking about all of its different functions from spearing fish to ruling the sea currents and creating water sources entirely, she asked me, "How would you reconcile the belief in earthquakes with modern science?" In words words, "How do I accept the fact that quakes are caused by plates rubbing together and pair it with the idea that Poseidon causes them by striking the ground with His trident?"

My response was rooted in the belief that the Gods are everywhere and in everything, as the ancients also believed. "Do I believe that there's someone standing there who looks like me, hitting the ground with a trident when there's an earthquake?" I replied. "No, I think that the movement of the plates is the movement and consciousness of Poseidon in the Universe itself." 

To me, the Gods exist, at least in one form, as the consciousness of all that was, is and ever will be. That's why I don't even consider them to only be Gods of Earth, but of every other planet, galaxy, and all other lifeforms out there. For example, I don't consider Artemis to be the Goddess of only Earth's moon, but of every moon. The Gods are all that is, and their consciousness, direction, intelligence and Divine Powers give existence and place to everything; the sun and moon, Earth and sky, water and fire, love and sex, wind and rain, freedom and justice, all things possess their minds, bodies and powers. That's why, for example, it makes perfect sense for people like us to consider the sun a God, while other people may think us primitive or even crazy. When you understand that the Gods are literally the beating hearts and blood flows of the Universe, you begin to see them everywhere and recognize the fact that they are there.

As for Poseidon's trident, that is also part of His embodiment. I don't mean to say that He is a trident, but that the weapon and staff is something through which His power and consciousness flows. So, in a way, yes, He is striking the ground with His trident, but in a way that people may not have yet considered. Perhaps the trident may be, at least as one manifestation, His channel, His key to the realms of the Universe over which He rules. All things have a path or opening which lead to them. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Cyclops & His Walls

If an ancient Greek had been taking a stroll through the countryside and stumbled upon the ruins of massive walls or fortifications, he or she might have thought of them to be Cyclopean Walls or structures. After the times in which Homer describes in his poetry, such as those of Mycenae and Troy, dating back to 1260 BCE, around 400 to 500 years before Homer himself, Greeks who looked upon these mysterious ruins and rubble thought that they had been built by the Cyclopes, a race of humanoid giants with only one eye in the center of their heads, the name Cyclops meaning "Round Eye." Being that the buildings were so incredibly strong and grand, it was thought that humans could not have achieved such architectural stamina. Therefore, they were thought to have been built by the Cyclopes.

The Cyclopes did not just constitute the infamous Polyphemus, who was the Cyclops responsible for obstructing Odysseus on His journey home. There were many others like this giant, some of whom were employed by Zeus in the Titanomachy to help Him overcome Kronos and the Titan forces against Olympos. The Cyclopes were even said to have forged Zeus' thunderbolt, Poseidon's trident, and the helmet of Haides. These giants were also generally known as excellent engineers in the arts of architecture and metals. The creatures had an incredibly brilliant side to them.

Of course, today, we know that humans can and did build those structures and monuments like the great walls and fortifications of times long ago. Although, assistance from beings a little stronger may have helped, I'm sure. I also think that the idea of a Cyclopean structure might have referred to natural land formations as well, such as the rocky hill of the Acropolis. This was built by Nature, not men, and in that respect, we know it to be a building feat beyond the capabilities of humans. It wouldn't be wrong to say that the hands of something far greater and stronger than us, built the mighty fortification upon which Athena and Her people placed the Parthenon and the heart of Her City itself. 

Even today, there are people who use the term Cyclopean, myself included, as a label for natural greatness in Earth's structure, especially those which are Archaic and prehistoric. So, the bigger question is, who or what are the Cyclopes? Perhaps they are earlier forces of creation in the world and Universe, before the coming of the Olympians. After all, they were said to be children of the very first original Gods - Ouranos and Gaia (Heaven and Earth), of whom nothing came before. Could there have also been physical Cyclopes? Certainly. Robert Wadlow, the Giant of Illinois, was the tallest man in the world of his time at 8ft, and Andre the Giant stood 7ft. People in ancient times would have certainly called them giants. We still do today. Compared to the rest of us, they are huge. So would it be hard to imagine there being ancient people of abnormal height, some of whom may have been born with one eye or lost one eye? It's entirely possible.

But I think the Cyclopes, in part, were among the first forging powers of our Universe and of our planet, who now either rest peacefully in the embrace of Gaia, or who stand at the assistance of the Gods if and when needed.  

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Credit for Photograph
* A Cyclop Statue At The Geological Museum, June 11th, 2008, taken by Deror avi.
Link to picture.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Sense of Faithful Fear

If you base your religion on the views of the ancient Greeks, there's no denying that Greeks do fear, as well as love, the Gods, but it's for a good reason and perhaps not in the way you think.

Firstly, any mortal who doesn't have some level of fear for a God, is foolhardy at best. Fear isn't something that is directly taught in Greek religion, it's simply there by nature. You should fear a God for the same reason you'd fear a bolt of lightning, or a raging sea, because they are more powerful than you and can wipe you from life in the blink of an eye. A God is also far wiser than yourself will ever be. Fear is the result of a recognition of superior power. It is the "right" kind of fear because it breeds humility and prudence. Without a good sense of these things, we may find ourselves in more trouble than we can get out of.

Fear does not mean you're not brave, strong or confident, there is simply a fine line between these things and arrogance and stupidity. For example, saving someone from drowning is brave, strong and confident, but swimming with sharks is stupid, and you will eventually become drive thru for a dinosaur. Fear is merely the recognition of your place and limitations, arrogance is a failure to do so. Now some people might ask me, "Didn't the Heroes do things that most people would have considered beyond human limitation?" Yes, they did, but they were sent by the Gods to do something that was possible. They also didn't sink in over their heads. In fact, the Gods routinely provided them with assistance so they wouldn't. Bellerophon couldn't have killed the Chimera without Pegasos (the horse of heaven). A Hero always knows, recognizes, and most importantly, accepts the difference between themselves and the Divine. Being an affront to the Gods is not what it means to be a Hero.

I find that a lack of fear and piety among Pagans can be an issue. I've seen Pagan writers call Gods "scoundrels," and Pagan worshipers call them "assholes." While it may be rare, it is certainly a real case. A mortal picking a fight with a God is idiotic at best. Probably the only reason they haven't punished those people is because of their forgiving nature, or they think there is something mentally wrong with that individual. At any rate, you're never going to gain the favor of a God by insults, arrogance, or impiety. Even if they don't punish you, they'll probably turn away. Would you help someone who insulted you? Probably not, you likely wouldn't even give them the time of day until they shaped up and treated you with proper respect.

The only time fear is wrong is when it's unwarranted. Fear the Gods because you know they can destroy you, but love them because you know they're kind enough not to, and you will find wisdom. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Religion Is A Rescue, Not A Downfall

Most people in the world are religious, or are at least theists, in one form or another. In any case, spirituality itself is certainly a dominant, and natural human trait. We are born with schema, the natural mental construct of looking for patterns and meanings, and therefore Higher Powers. We are born looking for Gods and Goddesses, born with an inherent desire to find Deity. Religion is simply a system established around any one of those given pursuits. Like all good things, religions can be perverted, but in its correct self, being religious, spiritual, and knowing Deity is one of the greatest blessings ever given to humanity.

Those who hate religion will often paint any wrongdoing by religious people on the biggest billboard they can find. However, they never talk about all the people who turned from suicide or crime because they found religion. They refuse to bring to light those religious people who created the greatest civilizations in history, and those people who were among the greatest humanitarians and peace-loving individuals in the world. They don't talk about the fact that the founders of the sciences that we still practice today were theists. Sometimes, they won't even mention that the vast majority of religious people are in fact good and upstanding. There's a reason they don't bring up any of it, because this hate, like any form of hatred, is about promoting an agenda of prejudice and bias.

I'll tell anyone truly, if the Gods and their religious and spiritual principles hadn't been in my life all these years, I don't know if I'd still be alive or living in any form of stability. Hellenism has instilled an immense sense of piety, honor, and morality that I didn't have beforehand, no matter how many other positive influences were around me. There was a time in the past when I didn't see anything wrong with lying to people or cheating them. I didn't feel any reason to have an inherent respect for other people or even their properties and rights. Like some, I thought, It's only wrong if you get caught or It doesn't matter as long as it's not happening to me, or if I benefit from it.

I came to realize through the Gods and their guidance that it does matter if you live your life without honor and dignity, that it does make a difference how you treat others and if bad things become of those around you, not only because they are humans too, but because the same might happen to you if its allowed to continue. It matters because attitudes like mine were not only those that destroy the person holding them, but also are the ones that allow all injustices to flourish in the world. How we live as human beings will determined ourselves and our planet. There are some universal rights and wrongs, whether we like it or not, and connecting with Higher Powers or higher purpose helps bring it all into perspective and understanding, because the Highers are the ultimate orders, as in the stable structure and balance. That's why being religious has brought so many people back from chaos.

Even the simple peace that being Hellenic has given me has allowed me to keep up successful battles against things that commonly destroy humans, like depression and fear. Without my Gods and my religion, I'd have nothing to turn to for supreme trust and power. Where would I be? I don't want to wonder.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Extreme Polytheism In A Sometimes Not So Extreme Community

The Polytheistic and Pagan communities are often broken into two theological classes, those being Soft Polytheism and Hard Polytheism. Basically, Soft Polytheism is the belief that all Gods go back to one ultimate God, whereas Hard Polytheism believes that all Gods are their own separate individuals and manifestations, and are not dependent on any other Deity for their power or existence. So for example, a Soft Polytheist would believe that Zeus, Apollo, and Dionysus are all the same God, whereas a Hard Polytheist would believe they are 3 separate and distinct Gods.

Back when I first began seriously studying Hellenic Polytheism as a religion, I knew right away I was a Hard Polytheist. Soft Polytheism didn't make any sense to me at all because how in the world could a Virgin Goddess who refrains from sexual contact be the same as Aphrodite who loves sexual contact? In some cases, there was too much of an impassable contradiction, but I later came to realize that I was something even more than just a Hard Polytheist, what I came to coin as "Extreme Polytheism." I discovered that some Hard Polytheists, even though they believed in many distinct Gods, still had some Soft Polytheistic views even within a Hard category itself. I found that some, for example, believed in The Olympians in a Hard Polytheistic theology, but believed that the Non-Olympian Gods could be simply different manifestations or extensions of the 12 Olympians themselves, such as the idea that Nike is another manifestation of Athena, or the Wind Gods being an extension of Zeus. I saw that even within Hard Polytheism, there could also exist Soft Polytheism. 

I wasn't having any of that, though. I believed, and still believe, that every single God, Spirit and Hero is their own distinct individual, and not the extension or manifestation of any other but themselves. I didn't see any need, at any point, for a Deity to show themselves as anything other than themselves. Why would Athena, I thought, show Herself as Nike as if Her previous manifestation didn't suffice? It didn't make any sense when paired with the belief in all powerful, individual Gods who could do whatever they wanted on their own. So I became an Extreme Polytheist. I came to believe that Athena and Nike are two separate Deities who, at times, come together for a common goal, but who can also separate and go about their own way with other things. To my mind, there is no Divinity whatsoever who isn't their own independent Being. In some cases, I may be a minority within a minority, but it has greatly broadened my relationships with the Divine.

Although, I'm sure I'm not the only one out there with this perspective, but if we're looking for an official name for our theology (and I do think it needs its own identification), why not Extreme Polytheism?

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Sexism That Never Occurs

Some people, whether they're Hellenic Polytheists, Pagans, or just historians, tend to think of ancient Greek religion as being sexist to some degree. I've even read this from other ancient Greek Pagan authors such as Laura Perry. I think it's clear, however, that some authors and historians simply desire to stick to their own one sided view of things, because they never talk about something even as ancient as the Homeric Hymns saying that Hera is revered "no less" than Zeus. In other words, they are equal in the powers of Divine Male and Female. There is no sexism there. They also won't mention how the most revered religious leader in the Greek world was always a woman (the Oracle of Delphi), nor do they bring to light the societal powers that Spartan women held. I'm not saying there weren't women-haters in ancient Greece, but it's unfair to judge an entire culture by the opinion of one playwright, or even the opinions of 20 philosophers. But this post isn't strictly about historical records. Instead, it's regarding the interesting fact of my own Hellenic worship.

When I am praying to the Gods, calling out male and female names, there's never, in my mind, a dependent connection between their power and their gender. In other words, I don't think Zeus is King because He's male. I think He's King simply because He's King. I don't think Athena to be the champion of battle because She's female, but simply because She is. Besides, with most Divinities of the Greek world, you can normally find a reasonable gender counterpart, such as Poseidon and Amphitrite, or Aphrodite and Eros. It's true their sexes are essential parts of their identities, and it's disrespectful to call them something they're not, but a gender preference never occurs to me. Sexism is just not something that makes itself a relevant factor, nor should it. To me, the Gods simply are, requiring no other reason. And indeed, there are certainly female Gods who hold positions higher than some male Gods.

I suppose for some people, no matter their religion, it may be hard to see Deity as someone different from their own self, but when it comes to a Polytheist I think we understand the immense diversity of the universe and all the life around us, that we as humans are but one part, and everything and everyone doesn't have to reflect our personal selves to be powerful, beautiful and relevant.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Day The Gods Wiped My Slate Clean

It's an understatement to say that I've had a great many struggles in my life, but on a cold day, it manifested into the internal monster that had been consuming me for a long time.

For what seemed like weeks and months, I pulled myself through an agonizing world that had no spirituality; I couldn't feel anything. I felt that my past errors as well as my own negative thinking about things, had put me in disfavor with the Gods that might take great feats to repair, something that I was terrified I wouldn't be able to do satisfactorily. I suppose we all have the fear of failure, an anxiety that haunts the back of every human mind. But some might say that mine flooded my head completely. I was so scared that I was incredibly far gone. The ancient Greeks call it miasma, and I'd say I was certainly covered in it.

Many times did I beg the Gods in prayer to pardon me of my past and shortcomings, but the pain and dread continued. Then there came the early morning hours of that fateful day, quite possibly around 3 am, I am unsure, but some time in the opening times of the day after midnight. During the previous day, I had fasted until sundown as a sacrifice to the Gods. According to some, fasting itself lifts you out of the physical ailments and into the spiritual world. I was able to narrow the sleeping time frame down using when I went to bed and awoke. In my dream, there was a horrific monster in the form of a shabby and dirty woman chasing after me. Demonic? My own inner anguish manifesting? Both? I don't know, but it was certainly one of the most terrifying dreams of my life.

I fled from her as fast as I could, but she never went away. Then, very suddenly, a group of people, male and female, dressed in normal clothing, came to my aid. The next thing I knew, I was standing on a bridge, looking down into a vast stream, and in that stream my friends stood with the evil woman lying on her back. I said, "Just grab a limb and pull." They ripped the woman apart, and as her skeletal remains washed down stream, I said, "Into the depths of Tartaros, I send you back!" 

The dream ended by the top of her pelvic bone being placed in my hand. As the day went on after the dream, or some might say a nightmare, I felt as if I had recovered from a sickness. I just knew that the Gods had come and wiped everything away, all the things of my past and put it behind them and myself. As if, Never think of it again, begin a new day. Now was the time I could restart. I no longer felt an ounce of negativity, fear, guilt, or a separation from the Gods. My spirituality had been restored. But I couldn't figure out the meaning of the pelvic bone, so I consulted the best oracle I knew to help me interpret the dream, my wife. It turns out that it's a symbol of personal power, and that when it was placed in my hand, the Gods gave me back control over my life. What's more, the bone actually came from the monster. I had been given triumph over it completely.

I decided to tell this story for two main reasons. Firstly, to dispel the myths and individuals who want to portray the Gods as cruel, uncaring, and having little interest in the prosperity of humans. They are absolutely fascinated by us and want to see us at our best. The Gods knew how badly I was hurting and they didn't want to see me go through it anymore. Second, the Gods wiping away my past shows their immense love for humans because, one, they cared enough about my turmoil to free me from it, and second, even as they were wiping it all away, they knew future mistakes made by me would likely follow, because no human is perfect. Yet, they still chose to be with me now and in the times to come. They didn't see me as a problem but as a potential.

You're never in too deep, that's the lesson I would tell others about my experience. Additionally, the Gods are always there, they always adore you, and they always want to help you. You may lose connection because you turn away, but you'll never lose it because they turn away.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

"Greek" Christians Who Laugh At Me

Often times, I find myself in several Greek-based groups online, and they're not all Polytheistic. Some of them are dominated by the dominant religion of Greece today, that being Orthodox Christianity. While most of them are nice to me, there are others who are very rude and confrontational when they find out that I worship the Greek Gods; that my religion is ancient Greek and I reject Christianity. It's all the worse when you consider the fact that I do not make fun of or attack them in the group for their religious choices, but let me post something in a universal Greek group about my shrines, sanctuaries, or general spirituality, and at least one or two people will laugh at me or call me crazy in one form or another. One person even told me that I should see a psychiatrist. I should have retorted by saying that she's the one with Stockholm Syndrome. 

I do wish the group administrators would ban the bigots instead of just deleting my threads to stop the confrontations, but I have always found it very interesting that the people who submitted to the religious invaders who did everything they could to destroy the ethnic Greek culture and subjugate the Greek people, would think that someone like me who chooses to fight for their freedom from it, is delusional, crazy, laughable, etc. They certainly have the right to follow whichever religion they want and I'd never try to stop anyone from having that right, but it's clear that they think Christianity is the legitimate religion of the Greek people, or that it saved the Greek people from destruction. When in fact, it's the opposite. The legitimacy of any people is their ethnicity, not outsiders or foreigners who forced them into another ethnicity, and Greece today is not even a shadow of the greatness it was in the ancient times.

It also angers me that these Greeks in question resent the ancient worshipers and followers, but also have no problem using our architecture, forms of government, ethics, art, science and philosophy. They're more than willing to take the cultural constructs and claim their greatness for their own, but not the Gods who inherently come with it. Because the ancient Greeks had their religion intertwined into everything, you naturally cannot adopt that culture while excluding its spirituality. Otherwise, it makes you hypocritical. So I wish these Greeks, if they hate the ancients so much, would form their own culture, their own ideas, and give ours back to us along with the land they hijacked. It would be great if we could have all of our temples and religious lands back, along with restitution so we could restore them.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Why Do So Many Pagans Get Upset With The Word "Worship?"

Talk to some modern Pagans about their Path, and they'll say things like, "I don't worship the Gods, I work with them." It is obvious, to my mind, that their former lives as Christians or monotheists have left a really bad taste in their mouths, and so they associate even terms our Pagan ancestors identified with as being inherent of the Abrahamic traditions. They came to Paganism, in part, because they wanted to get away from the self-loathing and "groveling" that is often associated with the mainstream faiths, and get into a religion or practice where they could have a more direct relationship with Deity. This is understandable, but worship doesn't inherently mean anything Abrahamic. Worship simply means, to pay reverent (respectful) honor and homage to a God. Any time you do this, you are giving worship. So even something as simple as recognizing a God as a God, means you have given worship. Ritual, prayer, hymn, sacrifice, and art, if centered around a particular God or Gods, are all forms of worship, because you have given respectful honor and homage to them.

It's similar to people who have the same bad taste in their mouths and say they are, "Spiritual but not religious." Religion is defined as having a set of beliefs or practices concerning theology. So even if your beliefs and practices are your own entirely, you are practicing religion. It doesn't have to be inherently tied to an organized group of people, denomination, or church to be religious.

Our Pagan ancestors were most certainly religious, and they most certainly worshiped, and yet they were not Abrahamic. The ancient Greeks, for example, loved, revered, and feared their Gods, and they didn't believe they were equal to the Gods, but yet they were still the beacon of light for the intellectual, physical, and societal advancement of the Western world. They saw nothing about religion and worship that demanded they be anything less than what a human could, or that they despise said fact. They simply realized that, even with all that humans could achieve, there were still Higher Powers to be respected, admired, and thanked for making life and the Universe possible in the first place.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Why Are Greeks Returning To The Ancient Gods?

Pagan and Polytheistic revivals are popping up all over the world, and Greece isn't an exception. More and more Greeks, perhaps slowly but also surely, are returning to the worship of the Gods of their ancestors, aka the Greek Gods. While it's important for Hellenists and Pagans to celebrate, it's equally important to know and understand the reasoning behind this emerging societal shift. It will help us understand our past, be solid in the present, and push on into the future.

Recently, I went online and caught up with Vlassis G. Rassias, a leading spokesperson in Athens, Greece for the modern ancient Greek religious movement and founder of the YSEE (Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes), to ask him what he thinks about the resurgence. According to him, when freedom and democracy began to regain a foothold in Greece in the 80's after the nightmarish military dictatorship of 1967-1974, the ethnic Greeks began to resurface. In fact, he said, religious freedom had been oppressed ever since the formation of the Neo-Greek Christian State in the 1830's after Greece won independence from the Ottomans. In short, a serious lack of oppression has allowed the ancient religion to come back. I finished by asking Vlassis about his personal devotion and what brought him to ancient Greek religion. According to him, the final straw came in 1976 when a Christian monk literally smashed apart the statue of Zeus outside the Ministry of Education in Athens. Thus began his rebuking of Christianity and his allegiance to the ethnic religion of Greece.

I noticed that in talking with Vlassis, two things stand out. One, that Greeks are returning to the old Gods because they are now free to do so, and two, they have seen what the Christian church has done and wants to do to Greece. They are realizing that their ancestors were converted by force, which was still being applied in the late 20th Century. This realization, I think, also makes people realize they have been lied to and enslaved by the present establishment, and it makes them want to seek their true identities that were taken from them. To this day, ancient Greek religion continues to grow, with 5,000 to 10,000 in Greece (which can't account for the number of people who may still be in hiding), and among the Pagans of America that number over 1 million, there are certainly many who worship the Greek Gods as well, if not exclusively like myself.

I feel I should include my own self in the topic as well, since I am also a Greek Polytheist. Although I'm not from Greece, I am still part of the ancient Greek religious movement abroad. In spirit, mind and deed, I am certainly a Hellene. Of course, mostly everyone knows of my conversion story from 2009, when the Greek Gods answered my prayers in the time of my family's greatest need, but I can also relate to the things said by Vlassis. I grew up Christian, and learning about how so many parts of the world had been forced into conversion, lessened my trust in the church and the religion. Not to mention the persistence, especially in the southern states, of trying to force Christianity on everyone, whether they wanted to accept it or not. There was still, of course, freedom of religion, at least on paper. But many parts of society and even the state and local government officials don't always want to respect it. Then, of course, there's the simple fact that Christianity just isn't the right religion for many people.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Monday, November 19, 2018

How To Build Private Prayer Space For All Purposes

Polytheists and Pagans like being private people. The number of solitary practitioners is one of the highest denominations, if you will, in the community. In some Pagan Paths, like Wicca, it's even drawn controversy as to whether or not it's even legitimate for a Wiccan to be without a Coven. So those of us who enjoy our alone time with the Gods and our spirituality are massive. When I built my own entirely private altar just a few days ago, I wasn't even in the market for it when I stumbled upon the marvelous items for it at a local Goodwill store, but I'm always on the lookout for new stuff I can use and design for my pursuits in life. Originally, I went to Goodwill that day because I always try to buy a little something I like each time I get paid, so I was looking for nice decorations for my home.

As you can see from the first picture on the right, I assembled a private altar very nicely, facing the direction of the rising Sun each morning. Of course, the lower wooden stand is the altar for prayer, sacrifice and even festival celebrations for a particular God when necessary. In the center is the incense burner which is the common offering at this altar, on the left a relief of Eos (Goddess of the dawn) and on the right Hemera (Goddess of the day), over shadowed by a golden, metal reef of flowers. At the very top is a central wall niche to finish. The total price for all of it was about $16. That's the reason I always tell Pagans to search for religious items at thrift stores and antique shops. You can find absolutely wonderful things that cost virtually nothing.

Now the altar is for universal purpose. In other words, prayers, worship and rituals regarding any God(s), Spirit(s) or Hero(es) I want at any given time. But there may also be times to focus on one particular Divinity, such as for a festival or personal need, and that's what the wall niche at the top is for. As you can see from the picture on the left, if time comes for this direct focus, I just place a statue, picture or symbol of the God, Spirit or Hero on there. For example, Hephaistos in this picture, and for the purpose of, let's say, celebrating His festival on October 30th called Khalkeia. In this instance, my private prayer space can transform into a temporary altar or small temple or sanctuary of Hephaistos. When the celebrations are finished, I simply take the statue back to the original place I took it from, and the altar then returns to universal purpose. One of the best things about this space besides how cheap it was to make it, is that it does not take up much room at all. It's barely one yard across, and about two yards high.  The lower wooden section also has a lower shelf that can be used for things like prayer and ritual books, solid offerings, libation bowls, and/or to house relics of Gods or Heroes. With this small and very affordable establishment I have built in my own private living space, I can do all things religious that I need to in terms of worship and ritual. 

Don't be afraid to go out and try this for yourself if you need something like I have built, or perhaps more importantly, if you think something like this would be the most practical for you at this time. There is always more than one way to be Pagan.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Aphrodite ~ Her Real Character

Even as far back as ancient Greece, there were people who feared the power of Aphrodite. Of course, that's a bit misleading because the Greeks feared the powers of all Gods, not just Her. To act as though Aphrodite was the only One who sometimes caused men to cower is simply untrue. All of the Gods were both loved and feared. But love and sex were, and still are, extremely powerful forces, and when something takes possession of us, even if it's part of our natural state, we can sometimes find ourselves afraid and therefore think of it as terrible or mischievous. However, in reality, Aphrodite is not a Goddess who does bad things, no God is. She was worshiped and celebrated all over the ancient Greek world. Even though Her dominant epithets may have slightly differed from region to region, She was still the same Goddess. For example, to some, Her sphere of sexuality may have been more geared toward marital unions, while others viewed Her as present in sexual activity in general. There can be no doubt that Her realm gives life to us all. Without sexual union, humans would go extinct. We don't often think about it, especially if we have achieved great success in life, but the basic intercourse of sexuality is the reason we are even here in the first place, and therefore it's something to love and celebrate. 

Although, despite the fact that She was so widely loved and served by so many, modern authors of ancient Greek history, at times, take the liberty to portray Her as a force that the Greeks resented and preferably wanted nothing to do with, one that was dreaded most of all. But as Socrates said in the Dialogue of Theaetetus, it is not possible for a God to wish for wickedness upon mankind. It's also important to remember that there was no dogmatic belief system in ancient Athens. The Greeks were more so concerned with practice, instead of the personal beliefs of each person. Therefore, what one Athenian believed about a God, could be different than what another believes about them. Just because they write those beliefs down, no matter how famous the author, doesn't necessarily mean there's a universal consensus. In fact, it's probably a safe bet that we have lost most of the things that were written down in ancient Greece.

The ancient Greeks were certainly people who were far more sexually free and accepting of the wonderful things about sexuality than the later Christians who took over the West, and although places like ancient Athens in the Classical Period are routinely portrayed as sexist and fearful of the female, their religious devotion does not seem to coincide with that image. After all, the men dedicated the City to a Goddess (Athena), and did so in place of a male God (Poseidon). On the Acropolis, the holiest of holy places for Athens, which was a City dominated by men, there stood a shrine to Aphrodite and Her son Eros, the God of love. One of the most well known festivals held in Her honor in Athens was called Aphrodisia, and is the first festival of the Athenian new year. Her most famously known devotee from ancient times is Sappho, another female, who was elevated to the rank of the 10th Muse. And Aphrodite Herself was known to the Athenians as Heavenly, Averter of Unlawful Desire, and Common to All People.

In the book Greek Religion by Walter Burkert, the section on Aphrodite is very clear on Her purpose and Divinity.

"Aphrodite's sphere of activity is immediately and sensibly apparent; the joyous consummation of sexuality" (Burkert, 152).

Notice he says, "joyous," not fearful or resentful. There was a time in human history when sex was a way to connect with the Divine, instead of something to be thought of as lowly, impure, or sinful. It didn't keep us from Deity, it brought them to us. And it sometimes seems that the more and more ancient culture and philosophy progressed, the more the Gods were viewed and understood as Bringers of good things, and not Beings to make you fear your humanity or the world. As it was said, I believe by the philosopher Sallustius, The Gods are always good, and never harmful. We would therefore be led to believe that something which is the contrary has not been sent by the Gods.

This progression in theology, and the various ways to connect with the Gods was, of course, interrupted by the Christian take over, and early Christians sometimes used their own interpretation to revise ancient perceptions and beliefs, and when they did this, it was not a flattering view. If there was one thing they hated more than the Pagans, it was sexual freedom exercised by a woman, and Aphrodite, being a sexually strong and independent female Divinity, would have no doubt gotten the worst end of male dominated, Christian supremacist wrath.

Of course, it would be highly dishonest to act as though all ancient Greek men were trusting of women. It would also be dishonest to suggest that every Greek culture was sexually identical, when women in Sparta held more power than women in Athens. And there has never been, in the world's history, a society of matriarchy, and no one's denying that. But I think that, as human beings, no matter our gender, we sometimes fear those of the opposite. Men have feared women because they worry about seduction, temptation, or manipulation, and women have feared men because they worry about misogyny in its many forms. This has sometimes led us to demonize one another, but I think that if we come to terms with the fact that male and female are both blessed beings, we will lose the grip of fear and distrust on our minds.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Work Cited: Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1985.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Controversial Subject of Animal Sacrifice

It's no secret to history, and no doubt to any logical mind, that the ancient Polytheists (not just Greeks) participated in the practice of animal sacrifice to their Gods, and not in small amounts. At the Panathenaia, for example, Athena received a sacrifice of 100 oxen, which were then used in a great banquet to feed the worshipers. There are also vase paintings from around 500 BCE that show bulls being led to the altar of Athena for sacrifice, with the Goddess lording over the procession. While people in mainstream society, and even many modern Pagans, may find the act to be cruel at best, what does animal sacrifice really entail? What is the reality of it all? Are we really appalled by it, or are we just being reactionaries to something that has been made taboo? Is our condemnation of it real, or manufactured?

I think I am first safe to say that most Pagans, and Hellenic Polytheists like myself, do not practice animal sacrifice today for a number of reasons. One, the expense. Two, many of us don't feel the need or the desire to go through such pains. And three, there's no need to sacrifice an animal when any meat you like can be picked up fresh at the grocery store and placed on the altar of the God you wish to offer to. It is far cheaper, far less burdensome, and far less messy. We are just as, if not more content, by pouring libations, burning incense, and giving general foods and goods to our Gods. On the other hand, there is also no law in the United States that forbids the sacrifice of livestock for religious purposes. The US Supreme Court ruled, by all 9 Justices, that animal sacrifice for religious purpose is protected under the 1st amendment during a case involving the Floridian city of Hialeah and resident worshipers who preformed animal sacrifice.

So let's break the subject down simply. Mostly no one becomes offended or repulsed if I tell them that I am going hunting. They have no problem with me loading a rifle and putting a bullet through a deer's heart, and afterward, breaking his body apart and using it for meat. They don't think twice about it even if I decide to stuff and put his head on my wall when all is said and done. However, if I put a religious meaning onto it, then all of a sudden, the exact same act becomes an offense. Why? Why is it more wrong to chop up a chicken for my family while praying to a God, than it is to simply chop it up without prayer? It's ridiculous to suddenly make killing an animal a horrid offense the minute it becomes religious, but totally fine if there's no religion attached. The animal dies either way. The only difference in the actual act of killing is that the Pagan may offer the animal to a God as well.

Animal sacrifice, in my view, actually gives the animal more respect and honor than simply putting them through a conveyor belt in a killing house. With the religious aspect, the animal is made sacred and treated with the utmost respect because it is being given to the God. Even more honor is bestowed by the fact that the animal will likely be used for good purpose once the sacrifice is over, such as the oxen at the Panathenaia, instead of being killed for mere sport like many hunters do these days, or being massively killed on farms for mere profit. These are the people and places that truly do dishonor to the animal and commit the horrid acts. They exploit the animal in every way imaginable, and could not care less how close they bring the creatures to extinction. The Pagan or the Polytheist who gives the animal to the God cares for the creature far more than your average, mainstream butcher or hunter. The animal is seen as a sacred gift to the Divine, and a salvation to the people by the food and service that its body gives.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Why the Gods Aren't Subject to Natural Law or Fate

The Gods rule over things. For example, Zeus rules lightning. If He were the subject of the lightning and dictated by it, He wouldn't be its God. Instead, He would be its servant. However, He hurls the bolt where He chooses, and therefore the roles are the exact opposite. The natural order of things bears no dictation over Him, or any other God. Otherwise, they wouldn't be Gods. The entire idea behind Divinity is that it rules over the things which directs us and the universe. They can't rule over that direction if they are dictated by that direction; the direction would be ruling over them. 

Not only did the Gods, in their stories, rule over the natural order of things, they also changed it at their own will. It is not the natural order that a woman be turned into a spider, but Athena did it without lifting a finger. It is also not the natural order that time and space be broken and shifted in order to bring someone into a different realm so they can help fight an aggressor, but Zeus did it to Herakles in the Giantomachy. Natural Law, time and space mean nothing to the Gods. They don't even have to fight or work to break it open and change or direct it to their liking. They merely decide that it will be done, and it is.

The Gods are also not subject to fate, given what one even considers to be fate. Some may not even believe it exists at all in the sense that every single thing has already been written for us. But fate means you have no control over what happens, that it's already preordained and there's nothing you can do about it. To say that the Gods have no control over something, is to say again that they are not Gods. We can go back to the lightning example. If the bolt is preordained and there's nothing Zeus can do about it, it means He is powerless over the lightning, and thus not its God. The fate of the universe and this world also dictates that all things eventually die. The Gods, however, are deathless. They never die.

But perhaps someone means to say that nothing can stop the inevitable. Such as the fact that, one day, I will die, and that cannot be stopped. Maybe this is what they mean by saying that the Gods are subject to Natural Law and Fate. However, this was also created by the Gods themselves. My time was established when the Fates spun my thread. My life did not start, and is not drifting, haphazardly. The reason the Gods won't interfere when it is my time to die, is because that time is also made so by their own will. When the thread is spun, it is done so by the hands of Goddesses. The Divine Ones are therefore mapping out my life. They are creating for it what they choose, and thus, have complete control over the fate. While one may argue that not everything upon that thread has been preordained, it still shows the massive amount of dictation the Gods have over Natural Law and fate itself. You cannot be subjected to fate when you are fate. And the thread does not break on its own either. Remember, it is a Goddess who cuts it, and thus brings my life to an end. In short, things are started, directed, and ended by the hands of Gods.

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Beware Of Men Who Become Gods

This post is not, in any way, a political statement. While I may use well known examples from politics to make a point, it does not imply that the post is partisan. The reader should focus on the grand and far bigger picture. Everyone is welcome on my site, regardless of their political views.

Last night, I had a very interesting dream about Hesiod, almost as if he had sent me a message because I am among the people who will understand it. After all, Hesiod is a timeless counselor of humanity. If you have ever read his writings in their entirety, you know his dim forecasts for our own Age, and if you therefore know his predictions about the character, mentality and actions of men in this Age, what I'm about to tell you won't seem odd as a further message about the present state of affairs in our world.

The message is simple: men are being worshiped as Gods, and it's a very bad thing. In my dream, Trump was an example. Many of his followers see him as being favored by God, and some may even think of him as basically divine, and therefore Godly. Some people, like Ann Coulter, even changed our national motto in her book to "In Trump We Trust," thus putting him literally in the place of Gods, or at least flirting with the idea.

Even if someone does not believe themselves to be a God, but instead thinks that their very presence and actions are divinely ordained, that's just as bad. I think back to when Pisistratus tried to seize power in Athens by getting a woman to dress up as Athena and accompany him into the city, portraying to the people that Athena Herself had come from heaven to escort him to the throne. Fortunately, the people didn't buy the trick, but imagine how many leaders today try the exact same thing with their own deity in a number of ways, and the number of people who DO actually buy into it in our time.

This is a very destructive path we are on. It is not only destructive because of the fact that mortals are not Gods, but also because when you give a mortal that kind of power, they will do horrible things with it. If one believes they are a God, what authority do they answer to? If one believes that everything they do is ordained by a God, is there anything they won't do? Is there anything that can be wrong in their eyes or the eyes of their followers? Everything, to the deified one, is justified, no matter how horrible or wrong. Only true Gods can responsibly and justly wield the power of a God, and anyone who thinks that flesh and bone has any authority to play a God, is on a fool's errand.

The larger message, beyond Trump or any political stage, is to keep yourself free of their tyranny, recklessness and dead ends. If you see a man or woman being called a God, don't fall prey. Walk away, and worship real Gods. Don't let a mortal pull you into their own personal cult, because the end goal is your enslavement and the destruction of your own personal spirituality. You can further see this in the fact that some of Trump's religious leaders have publicly claimed that people who oppose him will be cursed by God. Their goal is to enslave you to their will, and to dictate your spiritual identity to their own twisted ends. 

Don't listen to them. Don't even listen to me. Listen to the Gods, and to your own good conscience.   

In the Goodness of the Gods,
Chris Aldridge.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

How To Build An Outside Sanctuary That Will Withstand The Elements

For 2.5 years, my Sanctuary of Artemis has stood completely unmoved without cement, glue or nails, despite the fact that the area gets heavy snow and ice in the winter, and hard and powerful rain and wind storms in the spring and summer. You too can build these kinds of natural worship areas with little labor and low cost. All you need is a little land and personal drive.

Step One: In ancient Greece, sanctuaries were sometimes built in caves, which no doubt provided amazing protection. This did not go unnoticed by me when I built my own sanctuary. I chose sturdy terrain and surrounding buildings. As you can see from the first picture on the left, the sanctuary is basically in a cave-like area. The only fully open direction is the front, or the entrance where the sunlight mostly penetrates. The back, left and right are all cut off by bigger, stronger structures, like my house on the right, my concrete carport behind, and another building on the left that isn't my own. It sits on other property, but is still close enough to protect the smaller structures around it. The sanctuary has no doubt been spared natural destruction in its past because of these factors. The other nice thing is that it provides you with a good level of privacy when you want to go there to worship, pray, sacrifice, or just be alone for a while. So step one is to surround the sanctuary with naturally stronger things. These can be as complex as buildings, or as simple as large trees. Something that is left completely out in the open, is going to get hit by everything around.

Step Two: I employed the soil of Earth Herself to help me stand the structures of the sanctuary. The column in the center that holds the statue of Artemis is actually nothing but a hard and hollow plastic, very light weight. So how does it stay in place without cement or something extremely heavy on top? Answer: soil. In the picture on the right, you will notice the base of the column. The very bottom platform of the column is completely buried by dirt and mud. When the soil was loose and wet, I dug a hole big enough to place the base of the column in, then I packed it extremely with the surrounding mud. Once it dried and hardened, the column basically became part of the ground itself. It's hard to move the ground unless there's an earthquake.

Step Three: Simply put, make sure the vital structures are made for outside, or can at least hold up in such natural conditions. My statue of Artemis is made of pure bronze, and while that may sound expensive and toilsome to carry, it's not at all. I believe the statue was a little over $100 when I bought it, and it's not anymore than 5 or 6 pounds, I'm certain. Yet it's heavy enough to not be moved easily, and strong enough to not be broken down by natural weather. Combine this with the natural footings and the protections of a cave, and you have an amazingly strong sanctuary. 

In the Goodness of the Gods,
and Blessings to you all, my friends,
Chris Aldridge.

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